Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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December 28, 2012

Police detain local man who sent threatening email

'Hopefully … you'll be seeing me on the news pretty soon and not the good kind,' 24-year-old says in email.

JACKSONVILLE —

A 24-year-old man who sent a bizarre, threatening email to an acquaintance Thursday afternoon was detained by local authorities Friday pending an investigation and a psychiatric evaluation.

In the Thursday email, Ryan Matthew Shepard of Jacksonville stated: "Hopefully, if (expletive) goes how I think it is, you'll be seeing me on the news pretty soon and not the good kind."

Shepard remained in custody Friday morning. A cursory review of his background reveals two driver's licenses — one to a residence in Jacksonville and other in Bullard.

Jacksonville Police Det. Greg Compton said Shepard is being detained in light of recent, tragic events such as the Connecticut school massacre earlier this month that claimed the lives of 20 children and six staff members,

Officials as high-up as Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin have urged school and law enforcement agencies to be "especially vigilant" following that school shooting — a philosophy with which Compton said the Jacksonville PD wholeheartedly agrees. Jacksonville Police wanted to be forward-looking in connection with the case, he said.

"Hopefully, we prevented something from happening," Compton said. "We don't know if he was serious, but we are going to treat the case as if he was. We want the public to be aware of him and what he said in his email and reassure everyone we are being proactive."

The person who received the email immediately contacted Jacksonville police. Authorities are hoping that anyone with knowledge of what Shepard was talking about will call them immediately at 903-586-2546.

The review of Shepard's background by a Jacksonville Daily Progress reporter did not immediately reveal any criminal or psychiatric history. But authorities, who were combing social media networks such as Facebook for information, said they aren't willing to take chances.

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